I cannot write, yet I must write!

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I cannot write, yet I must write!

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Education volunteer Rüveyda Arslanhan wrote the sequel to her previous article titled “I’m Unable to Write”. Stating she has started to forget her memories of Pakistan, Arslanhan emphasizes those memories are also worthy to be known by others, so she must write them down.

I cannot write, again… It’s no joke. While there is such a need to remember, I cannot write still when almost half the years of my lifetime had passed in that land where I had accumulated many days, conversations and longings.

Friends insist, ‘Write! Now you can say ‘I’m able to write’ and write!’ My heart, where I will mould my words into shape, still fails to deliver that subtle temper; my words come out cold, they do not warm enough…

I’m splashing scribbles here and there like a misshapen vessel full but does not know where to flow, yet I cannot write.

I sense a similar mood in most of my friends whose paths had crossed Pakistan. We loved so much, we struggled a lot, we did not want to give up, but we lost slowly… First our institutions, then our emotions…

I wouldn’t be surprised if traces were found in my DNA

Once upon a time, when Pakistan was mentioned, it was as if my name was being called. It was mine. It was a part of me. I wouldn’t be surprised if traces of my ancestors from that country were found in my DNA. Their music and dances would cheer me up or make me sad. I used to miss the food… Yet, I realized for the first time while browsing the shelves in the Pakistani market, where I recently visited with learned joy because the name was in it: Spices do not smell as good as they used to! I know what this means. My memories are fading, my emotions are fading: Spices do not smell splendid as they used to do!

Is this being human? Or forgetfulness? I do not know.

I don’t know if you are like me. You loved, you were loved, you lived with enthusiasm, but it passed. You can’t find the taste of Pakistan anywhere you go, but now you wish to look ahead, open new paths, adapt to your lives weaved from scratch and move on. To overshadow that the country where you spent many years gave you three days before kicking you out, not to remember those painful times anymore…

That past is not mine alone!

I must not forget, I know. Those years are my history, but I must say I’m tired. The pain accumulated in us drained us so much that our children now think sadness is an emotion unique to us. They think the world hurts only us while others enjoy the world’s delights.

What a hard task it is to both remain in the moment, do justice to your present stance, and to protect your past! This past is my history, but is it mine alone? That past is not my right only!

It is also Hodjaefendi’s right. That powerful invitation uttered in barely exhaled breath while saying, “Uphold this task!” as if pleading has his right… Pioneers who heeded that voice and set out to turn paths in Pakistan into avenues have their right…

I don’t know how to do it, but I must write…

The chronicles of those who went to sign a school agreement riding in a horse-drawn carriage, those who distributed flyers from door to door striving to find new students, those who shed tears and asked for generous voluntary donations, those who spent their days in school construction sites, those who could put their babies to sleep in 50 degrees heat only after wrapping the cradles in soaked bedsheets, and many more…

My father who gulped back his tears as he bid us farewell, my mother who waited years for the return of his two children from the same country, all who longed for me, and my own longings … each have their own right. My own longings and good old days have their rightful memories.

I don’t know how to do this either. It is beyond me. Yet, there is one thing I believe in: My past in that country, my only bond with those who went there 30 years ago and those who may go there 30 years from now… I must not forget… I must write…

First Article: I’m unable to write!

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